This lesson covers one of the most important grammar topics in the language: Spanish subject pronouns – Los pronombres personales. This kind of pronouns are used in every single conversation that we have. Learning how to use them is fundamental to communicate our ideas accurately. Here, you will find a list of these pronouns, but more importantly, we will teach you how to make meaningful, grammatically correct sentences with personal pronouns. Let’s start…
Introductory video: The basic rules for Spanish Personal Pronouns
Let’s begin by watching a short video showing a list of Spanish personal pronouns and explaining how these pronouns are organized into categories. The video intends to give you a broad idea of what the lesson is all about and includes a few important notes to learn to use subject pronouns in simple sentences and lots of examples too, so please stick until the end of the video.
What are Spanish Subject Pronouns?
The subject in Spanish
The subject is the first part of a sentence, that is, who does something or is affected by an action. Here are a few examples of sentences with the subject in bold:
- Alexis es famoso.
- Carmen y Julio compraron una casa. (two proper nouns make up the subject in this sentence)
- La casa vale 100 mil dólares. (here “La casa”, not just “Casa”, is the subject)
- Estudia francés y español. (here the subject is implicit, so based on the form of the verb, it could be a guy or a girl)
A list of Spanish subject pronouns – Los pronombres personales
Spanish subject pronouns or personal pronouns are words used to replace a noun (un sustantivo) which can function as the subject of a sentence. Generally speaking, they give us information about the subject, including its gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular/plural). The pronoun “Él”, for instance, will replace a man’s name, just as in the sentence “Antonio es alto. Él es inteligente“. The picture below shows a list of subject pronouns and the categories (“personas”) they are often grouped in.
A couple of sample sentences:
- Juan tiene dos hermanos / Él tiene dos hermanos. (“Él” corresponds to he in Spanish)
- Ariel y yo estudiamos juntos. / Nosotros estudiamos juntos. (“Nosotros” corresponds to we in Spanish)
A Chart for Spanish subject pronouns
“Los pronombres personales” are classified into three grammatical persons, PERSONAS, depending on their singular or plural form. LA PRIMERA PERSONA DEL SINGULAR (first person of the singular form) would refer to the subject pronoun YO, whereas LA TERCERA PERSONA DEL PLURAL (third person of the plural form), would refer to ELLOS/ELLAS. These PERSONAS are very useful when learning how to conjugate verbs in any tense.
The most important thing here is that you know the meaning of these pronouns and how to make simple sentences with Spanish subject pronouns. Know that when writing these words, you must add tilde to some of them like “Él” and “Tú”, otherwise you would be making a spelling mistake. Here is a chart for Spanish subject pronouns and their corresponding meaning in English.
|2nd||Tú/vos||You||Vosotros(as) – only used in Spain||You|
|2nd||Usted(formal)||You||Ustedes – used in Latin America||You|
“El pronombre personal VOS” is used in several Latin American countries, although it can sound quite informal. On the other hand, the pronoun TÚ is more polite and acceptable in many countries, but it depends on the country’s culture. If you haven’t met someone before or want to sound respectful, you’d better use TÚ or USTED.
Using Spanish subject pronouns in Sentences and questions
It is time to see these pronouns in use. Spanish Subject pronouns are actually very easy to use. We simply need to find a pronoun that agrees in number (singular or plural form) and gender (feminine or masculine form) with the original noun and also make sure that the selected pronoun corresponds to the form of the verb as well. For example, if we want to refer to a guy named “Carlos”, but we don’t want to repeat his name over and over again, then it may be appropriate to use the pronoun “Él” instead as in the sentence “Carlos es buena persona. Él tiene dos hijos”.
In some cases, Spanish personal pronouns could be omitted, but we must keep the right conjugation of the verb. This means that both sentences “Yo vivo en Miami” and “Vivo en Miami” are grammatically correct in the language. Moreover, we will definitely place the pronoun at the beginning of the sentence when we need to emphasize who performs the action, and it will be omitted in casual conversations or to make a conversation sound more natural.
Examples of sentences using subject pronouns in Spanish
Yo vivo con mi mamá
I live with my mother
¿Tú tienes un bolígrafo?
Do you have a pen?
¿Vos viste esa película?
Did you see that movie?
Él, ella, usted – Ken está en preescolar. Él es buen estudiante
He, She, You – Ken is attending preschool. He is a good student
Nosotros vamos a casarnos pronto.
We are getting married soon
¿Vosotros podéis ayudarme?
Can you help me?
¿Ustedes quieren trabajar conmigo?
Do you want to work with me?
Ann y Karl son listos. Ellos siempre están trabajando mucho.
Ann and Karl are smart. They are always working hard.
Cultural notes on subject pronouns in Spanish-speaking countries
Let’s talk about the way people use subject pronouns in some Spanish-speaking countries. In Mexico, people will use “Tú” most of the time, as well as in many other Latin American countries. On the other hand, in countries like Nicaragua and Argentina, it will be more common to hear “Vos”, as well as in some towns in Colombia and other countries in Central America. This means people will not say “Tú eres mi amigo“, but “Vos sos mi amigo“. Know that it is totally normal in these countries to use “Vos” and would actually sound a little strange if people started using “Tú” all of a sudden in every sentence, and vice versa. Also, if you want to sound more formal, then use “Usted” instead of “Tú” or “Vos”.
Additionally, people from all countries in Latin America will not use the pronoun “Vosotros” as it is mostly used in Spain. We learn to use it in school, but we never use it in daily spoken interactions. Instead, we will use the personal pronoun “Ustedes”, which means that instead of saying “Vosotros estáis conmigo“, we would say “Ustedes están conmigo“. Last but not least, for a mixed group of people, e.g. two girls and one boy, we will use the personal pronoun “Nosotros” to refer to all of them. It doesn’t matter how many women are part of the group, as long as there is one guy. If the group is entirely made up of girls, then “Nosotras” is the right choice.
We got the end of the lesson. Hopefully, you found the examples useful. Leave us a comment if you have any doubts about using Spanish subject pronouns to make your own sentences. ¡Hasta pronto!
Related Spanish Worksheets:
- Subject Pronouns in Spanish – PDF Worksheet
- Conjugating -AR Regular Verbs in Spanish (Present) – PDF Worksheet
- Conjugating -ER Regular Verbs in Spanish (Present) – PDF Worksheet
- Conjugating -IR Regular Verbs in Spanish (Present) – PDF Worksheet